Old Hat for a Senior
You will remember that we featured a clever opening lead by the Greek player Liarakos. Great Britain's Roy Garthwaite showed that this type of thing is old hat to a senior!
E/W Vul. Dealer East.
S - S QJT74
H KJ95 H AQ
D J95 D AQ864
C AKQJ84 C 5
The contract in both rooms was 6C, by West. The British West, Ted Latham, was favored by a spade lead. He ruffedand started on the trump suit. When the bad break came to light he was able to draw just four rounds and then take advantage of the favorable position in diamonds.
Roy Garthwaite knew from the bidding that East had a good diamond suit, and he also knew he had an unpleasant surprise for declarer in the trump suit. He led the D10!
You can hardly blame the declarer for getting this one wrong and a few moments later he was congratulating his opponent. There is a point worth noting about the diamond suit, if West starts by leading the D5, North should play the DK. Then West might be persuaded to finesse the D9 on the next round of the suit. It wouldn't help here, as West only needs three diamond tricks, but its worth remembering.
Now try your hand at this play problem from an early round of the Seniors.
You play the 6S from the South hand, on the lead of the D5.
You have two possibilities:
1. Take the diamond finesse. Claim if it wins, or concede one down if it fails.
2. Go up with DA and draw trumps. Cash four club tricks, discarding your losing diamonds and ruff a diamond. You
can then cross to dummy with a trump and play up to the H KQ4.
You will make the contract when the HA is onside, or if either hand has H Jx. A 3-0 trump break will stop the elimination, but still leave you with your chances in the heart suit.
The second line looks best, and that is the one chosen by the declarer. Needless to say that line failed and once again the diamond finesse would have worked.